Zimbabwe: Civic Society Push for Electoral Reforms, Holding Leaders Accountable

2 December 2019

Two civic society organizations, Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRGITHS) have moved a gear up in pushing the government to expedite electoral reforms through tracking platforms meetings meant to bring community involvement.

Apart from giving the communities room for involvement in governance issues, the tracking platform meetings will be used to measure how far elected representatives that include Members of Parliament (MPs) have gone is as far as fulfilling their election promises is concerned.

The two, ERC and ZIMRIGHTS, a coalition of 21 human rights NGOs in Zimbabwe in transitional justice work, research, documentation, and public interest litigation, have started conducting joint sensitization programmes in different communities.

ERC program assistant Rudo Motsi said they have since launched a toll-free platform which allows users to access election related material as well as contact details of their elected representatives before adding that despite the 2018 elections being held under better conditions, there were still gaps that needed to be addressed.

"We are running a campaign called Tavepapi/Sesingaphi/How Far? whereby citizens are encouraged to talk to their Members of Parliament through our toll-free platform," said Motsi.

She went on to challenge the government to address other priority areas among them biased coverage by the public broadcaster ZBC, traditional leaders' involvement in politics and alignment of laws to the constitution.

"We are encouraging communities to come up with discussions around issues to do with electoral reforms, traditional leader's involvement in politics, ZBC's biased reporting and the alignment of laws to the current constitution as we prepare for the 2023 election.

"We are encouraging citizens to take up the engagement process and use the platform to measure whether the MPs are living up to their election promises. Government was recently on record saying that they are willing to implement electoral and political reforms," said Motsi.

ZIMRIGHTS programs coordinator Leo Chamawhinya, said the election tracker platforms were providing communities an opportunity to actively participate in governance.

He said there was a need for communities to be actively involved in monitoring and evaluating so that they hold their elected representatives accountable.

"In terms of election monitoring, we are implementing activities where we try to track and monitor the implementation of election promises made by politicians through their manifestos. We want to make sure that we hold leaders accountable in line with their election campaign promises.

"We are tracking in terms of social and economic aspects, and also in terms of political developments in the country, if they promised roads we need to track and see how far they have gone in terms of the roads," said Chamawhinya.

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